|Date Published||February 28, 2017|
|Article Author||Stephen Mackisoc|
|Article Type||February 2017 Issue|
|Category||Articles, Oil & Gas|
|Tags||Brad Wall, E&P, Economic Downturns, Oil & Gas: Government, Plains Perspective, S&S|
It would be simple to focus on what the current Alberta government has NOT done for Albertans. It would be even easier to compare directly to what Premier Wall is saying and doing. But, I believe there is a much more important concept at play here, and that is the differing views of democracy some politicians seem to have once they take office.
As we all know, a democracy is a form of government in which people choose LEADERS by voting. These elected leaders are then charged with doing what is best for the majority of the people they represent. It says nothing about those leaders then becoming dictators or implementing their own agendas once they are elected.
Elected officials are obligated to do what is best for ALL their constituents, not just the special interest groups or their own political parties. Premier Wall made a comment a couple of months back when he referred to the people of Saskatchewan as, “Those for whom I work.” It is this perspective and understanding that needs to be top of mind for ALL elected officials anywhere in this country, including (and perhaps especially) in Ottawa. You work for the people, ALL OF US!
These politicians commit to certain concepts, actions, and general direction during a campaign, and they are elected based on those COMMITMENTS. There may need to be changes to those based on developing situations, such as, let’s say, a long depression of commodity prices. A commodity such as Western Canada Select heavy crude sourced from the OIL SANDS. Yes, Fonda, DiCaprio, Young, and all the others sticking their noses where they don’t belong. It’s been called OIL SANDS for years now! But, let’s not head down that road this month. I prefer to stick to the matter at hand.
Premier Wall keeps this concept of, “The people for whom I work,” top of mind and appears to run everything that way. This is certainly a good thing and something a true LEADER does. He and his government have a firm grasp of the concept of NOT piling on additional taxes when you are in a down economy. He has a deep understanding of the financial concepts required for success, including running government finances in a manner like prudent personal finances. Premier Wall does not treat his constituents as if they are uninformed and uneducated nor does he speak to them as if they are children.
Think of the times in your own life when you were concerned about the immediate or medium term future. Think of when you did not have the job certainty you would like or when you KNEW there were challenging economic times ahead. When you had friends or neighbours over, did you still serve the best steaks and the best wines or scotch? NO! You still had them over, but maybe you barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs and likely cut back on the wine expense. Did you perhaps change vacation plans to reduce cost? Did you run out and get a loan to buy a new car?
This concept of fiscal prudence seems lost on both Alberta and Ottawa at this point. Yes, math can be difficult, but we are not talking about complex mathematical theory here. We are talking about dollars coming in and dollars going out. It’s pretty simple stuff for most of us. BEFORE we go into further debt, personally, most of us carefully evaluate the situation. We review and consult with each other on the possible outcomes. We confirm the line of thought we are using makes sense given the current and near future economic situation. Unlike both current federal and Alberta governments, we think and plan BEFORE we spend!
In our personal lives, when we see rocky times ahead, we do our best to try to save more and build a cushion. We perhaps shop differently for things like groceries. We identify NEEDS versus WANTS and prioritize accordingly. We also DO NOT SPEND MONEY WE DO NOT HAVE. We understand you simply cannot continue to live at the same level while you go further and further into debt without a plan to retire that debt before the interest kills us.
Our PM was able to work his magic on Notley and got her to do his bidding with a carbon tax, but Premier Wall was far too experienced and intelligent to fall for the same trick. Premier Wall KNEW a carbon tax was not appropriate for the majority of people in Saskatchewan. Remember, those folks? The people FOR WHOM HE WORKS!
“For three years, we’ve been battered
and bruised and buffeted by a stubbornly
long down cycle in commodity…”
The bottom line is when you are elected you need to put aside the individual you, and make decisions based on the greater good. You need to make decisions that will positively affect the majority of the people. You must be financially prudent. You must be a LEADER and not a DICTATOR. We are neither loyal subjects nor village idiots, Trudeau and Notley, so please stop treating us and addressing us as if we are.
At this writing, Jared Kushner is being sent to Canada by his father-in-law to meet with Trudeau. I wish I could be a fly on the wall of that room. A 35-year-old who was given a job and financial success by his family with no background in politics and no proof he can “be” anything without that family is meeting with the, “It’s my birthright,” similarly advantaged Trudeau. Other than net worth, the only difference is Trudeau’s father did not go to jail for tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign donations like Charles Kushner. Do we think THESE people are really able to understand the struggles of an “average” Canadian or American?
We currently have a government that is not acting in the best interests of the majority. They have already spent millions on advertising trying to brainwash us into thinking they are doing a great job and the carbon tax will help us. The question was asked what can Albertans do to voice their opposition. Unfortunately, we can do all the protesting, writing, complaining, and lobbying we want, but I can assure you it will not alter the course of this government. Our opportunity will arrive on or before May 31, 2019. That is a LONG time to wait to voice our opposition to what has been happening, but we have no choice.
The saddest part of this story is according to the news (real news of course) we had the highest voter turnout ever in Alberta for the last election. Elections Alberta reported 1,488,248 Albertans cast ballots, which was 53.7% of the eligible voters. That means more than 1.2 MILLION Albertans (1,295,395) CHOSE NOT TO VOTE!
We are privileged enough to live in a democracy and close to HALF of Albertans declined to cast a ballot, and that is what is most disturbing! We must all appreciate our vote is indeed the only voice that will count, and we need to remember that at the next election. Do not squander your once in four years or so opportunity to truly be heard.